Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft organisation, announced their partnership with the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) to launch the Smile Train-WACS Cleft Surgical Certification.
The one- year post-graduate programme will commence in February 2020. WACS will identify accredited centres to serve as training sites in Nigeria, Ghana and French West Africa.
Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which took place at the College in Lagos, Smile Train Programme Director for West and Central Africa, Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi, noted that the care for cleft patients requires more capacity building for surgeons, hence will leverage the College’s resources to elevate the surgical expertise for local surgeons in the region.
“Smile Trains sustainable model provides training, funding, and resources to empower local medical professionals to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. Through this ground-breaking investment, we will enhance our interventions by establishing centres of excellence across West Africa, noted Mrs. Obi.
Alongside Mrs. Obi, the President of WACS, Professor Serigne Magueye Gueye, welcomed the partnership and expressed commitment to ensuring that the local surgeons from the Certification match the global quality standards of cleft care set forth by Smile Train.
“We are dedicated to ensuring that we not only equip the local surgeons handling cleft, but also aim at establishing connections in developing other program areas of comprehensive cleft care such as speech therapy and orthodontics. “Our highly skilled faculty will be sourced from local cleft surgeons and adjunct lecturers from relevant departments in the hospital in which the programme will be running, said Professor Gueye.
“Globally, every three minutes a baby is born with cleft. A cleft occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during fetal development. Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both hard and soft palate.
“To-date, Smile Train has supported more than 113,000 cleft surgeries across 38 countries in Africa. In addition to cleft surgery, they actively support training of nurses, anesthetists, surgeons, speech therapists and orthodontists in cleft care, nutrition programs, speech therapy and orthodontics.”